President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered Interior CS Fred Matiang'i to lead the government's negotiations in a trade standoff between Kenya and Somalia which has occasioned the loss of Ksh 5 billion daily by farmers.
The directive was revealed in a statement by Interior CS Fred Matiang’i where he indicated he had been given the assignment alongside Defence CS Monica Juma, Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo, and their Agriculture counterpart Peter Munya to come up with a solution to lift Somalia’s ban on miraa.
“Following a presidential directive, CS Fred Matiangi met the traders from Meru County, led by their Governor Kiraitu Murungi, and divulged that he's in talks with his colleagues Ambassador Raychelle Omamo, Peter Munya and Monica Juma to find an immediate solution to the issue,” the Ministry of Interior.Interior CS Fred Matiang'i in a meeting with Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi and miraa traders representatives at Harambee House on November 2, 2020File
The meeting also featured Igembe North MP Maoka Maore, Buuri MP Mugambi Rindikiri, Lapsset Chairman Titus Ibui, Nyambene Miraa Farmers and Traders Association Chairman Kimathi Munjuri and Igembe Central politician James Mithika.
The embargo, which was part of Somalia’s measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, has become a bone of contention, with the neighboring country setting tough conditions for lifting the ban.
The demands were made to Nyambene Miraa Traders Association when the group tried to engage Somalia authorities.
Somalia has demanded to be treated as an equal, adding that Kenya should refrain from interfering with the country’s internal affairs.
Kenya’s neighbours also want an apology for what it claimed was a violation of Somalia airspace.
The Cabinet team will have to consider whether or not to allow goods from Somalia including fish, rice, sugar, honey, meat and milk in exchange for lifting the miraa ban.
Farmers have been decrying the loss of revenue to the tune of Ksh5 billion every day for months.
“I used to earn between Ksh 70,000 and Ksh 120,000 monthly but now I barely make Ksh 10,000 after the closure of the Somali market,” lamented Maore Ngore, a farmer and former MCA for Ntunene.
The miraa traders used to export 50 tonnes of khat to Somalia making the farmers some of the most wealthy residents in Meru.President Uhuru Kenyatta with his Somalia counterpart Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo after the National Prayer Breakfast at Safari Park hotel in Nairobi on May 31, 2018.
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